A serial airline stowaway who is suspected of sneaking onto at least 30 flights without a ticket has been arrested again after her electronic ankle tag sounded an alarm when she walked into Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) on Tuesday.
Marilyn Hartman, 69, of Cook County, was on bail and awaiting sentencing for her repeated stowaway attempts including a 2018 ploy to get on a British Airways flight to London at Chicago O’Hare.
Hartman was initially bailed after that incident but was apprehended at the airport in 2019 and charged with burglary, criminal trespassing and probation violation. She was jailed for 500 days at Cook County Jail where she was diagnosed and started to receive treatment for bipolar disorder.
Following her diagnosis, Hartman was released on bail with an electronic ankle tag and under strict conditions not to return to Chicago O’Hare. Hartman recently told local media that she hoped the mental health treatment she was receiving would prevent any future stowaway attempts.
But in a statement, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office said Hartman was arrested on Tuesday after the GPS ankle bracelet went off at around midday on Tuesday. The alarm indicated that Hartman had left a residential facility where she was meant to be staying and repeated attempts to call Hartman went unanswered.
She then arrived at Terminal 1 at O’Hare at around 1:38 pm when an “alarm siren” activated on the ankle tag leading to police arresting her before Hartman could reach a secure area of the airport. She has been charged with felony escape.
Talking to CBS2 recently, Hartman said her tactic to evade airport security was to “attach” herself to fellow passengers.
“I have never been able to board a plane by myself. I was always let through. I mean I was able to go through the security line without a boarding pass,” she told the station.
“I got by them, this is the thing that is so crazy, by following someone they would be carrying like a blue bag. And the next thing I know, I get into the TSA line and TSA lets me through, and they think I’m with the guy with the blue bag.”
As well as successfully sneaking onboard a British Airways flight to London, Hartman is believed to have crisscrossed the United States as a stowaway and even managed to get on flights to Copenhagen and Paris.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.